Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, is on the brink of disaster. The heat wave could leave the city without water – that too in ten days.
A historic heat wave is currently keeping Montevideo in suspense. Uruguay’s capital receives its water mainly from the Paso Severino Reservoir, which is currently filled with 6.2 million cubic meters of water. With an average daily consumption of 650,000 cubic meters in Montevideo, this historically low water level would last the city of millions’ reserves for about ten days.
Uruguay is currently suffering its worst drought in 74 years, Reuters news agency reported, citing local officials. Water supply to thousands of homes is at risk – reports from local residents suggest that the water still coming through pipes is of substandard quality.
Tap water is contaminated
The reason for the poor water quality: At the end of April, the State Water Agency (OSE) had to mix Rio de la Plata river water from the Paso Severino Reservoir. The river empties into the bay where Montevideo and Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, are located. The water company has found that the water has high levels of sodium and chloride due to the pollution of the river water.
Due to contaminated tap water, Montevideo has now started a veritable run on bottled water. So the government has decided that customers can buy only two bottles of water per purchase.
Water struggle against Govt
Water shortages spark street protests in Montevideo Thousands of people gathered on Wednesday to protest against the government’s actions. Frederico Cremerman, head of the labor union at the state water company (OSE), blames the Uruguayan government for the crisis. Speaking to Reuters, he explains that politicians have failed to invest in water infrastructure at the right time and are managing the available resources poorly.
Light rain in recent days has not helped fill the capital’s reservoir with water, an OSE spokesman told Reuters. Five centimeters of rain per square meter is needed every day until June to restore water levels, the spokesperson continued. But, it doesn’t seem like that at the moment.
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